Virginia vs. Auburn
|Date & Time||Saturday April 6, 2019, 6:09 PM (EDT)|
U.S. Bank Stadium
Virginia Cavaliers -5.5 -- O/U: 130.5
The Auburn Tigers and the Virginia Cavaliers meet in a final four matchup in NCAA tournament college basketball action from the U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday.
The Auburn Tigers have reached the final four for the first time in program history after a 77-71 overtime win over Kentucky in their regional final last time out. Jared Harper led the Tigers with 26 points including an 11 of 11 mark from the foul line while Bryce Brown chipped in 24 points on 8 of 12 shooting with 4 threes as the only other Auburn player to score in double figures in the winning effort. Danjel Purifoy added 6 points with a team-high 6 rebounds as well in the win for the Tigers. Bryce Brown leads Auburn in scoring with 15.8 points per game while Harper leads the Tigers in assists with 5.8 assists per game and Austin Wiley is Auburn’s leading active rebounder with 4.2 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Auburn is averaging 80.2 points per game on 45.3% shooting from the field, 38.1% from behind the arc and 70.8% from the foul line this season.
The Virginia Cavaliers reached the final four for the first time since 1984 by clawing out an 80-75 overtime win over Purdue in a highly entertaining elite 8 matchup last time out. Kyle Guy led the Cavaliers with 25 points on 8 of 19 shooting with 5 threes and 10 rebounds for the double-double while Ty Jerome came right behind in 2nd with 24 points on 7 of 18 shooting with 4 threes and a team-high 7 assists. Mamadi Diakite added 14 points with 7 rebounds and 4 blocks while De’Andre Hunter added 10 points to round out the group of double-digit scorers for Virginia in the win. Kihei Clark added 5 assists while Jack Salt scored 5 points and chipped in 8 rebounds as well for the Cavaliers. Guy leads Virginia in scoring with 15.2 points per game while Jerome leads the Cavaliers in assists with 5.4 assists per game and Braxton Key leads Virginia on the glass with 5.2 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Virginia is averaging 71.3 points per game on 47.4% shooting from the field, 39.4% from behind the arc and 74.4% from the foul line this season. The Cavaliers are also one of the nation’s best defensive units, leading the country in scoring defense, allowing just 55.4 points per game as well as a 38.4% mark from the field (5th-lowest in D-I) and 28.7% from 3-point range (4th-lowest in D-I) this season.
Virginia is 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games, 40-19-1 against the spread in their last 60 games following a win, and 2-6 against the spread in their last 8 NCAA Tournament games. Auburn is 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games following a win, 4-1 against the spread in their last 5 neutral site games, and 4-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record.
I have made quite a bit backing Virginia this season, as the Cavaliers are one of the best defensive teams in the country and can stifle anybody with that suffocating defense. However, Auburn has been shooting the lights out for most of the tournament and have to be feeling pretty good after defeating Kentucky without their leading rebounder in Chuma Okeke who is lost for the season after tearing his ACL. I just think this Auburn team is a team that has the outside shooting to offset Virginia’s defense and I think this could be another nail biter, so I’ll take a shot at Auburn and the points here.